London: England football star Wayne Rooney has said that his lowest point came in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final game against Portugal, where he was sent off.
Rooney was given the marching orders after then Manchester United teammate and superstar Cristiano Ronaldo played a role in the dismissal, with the Portuguese caught winking after his Old Trafford colleague was dismissed for a second-half stamp.
“There was a clear foul, the former Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho was pulling and pushing me and Petit came in from the other side,” Rooney wrote in his column for The Times as quoted by Goal.
“Referee Horacio Elizondo did nothing and I planted my foot down on Carvalho — in one of those moments when you’re not thinking.
“I knew it was a red card and back in the dressing room I watched the rest of the game on a little TV, thinking: ‘If we win this, I’m suspended for a World Cup semi-final and final and if we lose it’s my fault.’ It was the worst, weirdest feeling I’ve had in football.
“I had my phone in my hand and I was getting all these messages about Ronaldo. Of course, when he ran over to ask Elizondo to send me off I pushed him away. In that moment I couldn’t believe what he was doing. But sitting in that dressing room gave me time to calm down and think.
“I put myself in Ronaldo’s shoes. Would I do the same? Probably. Would I be in the ref’s face to make sure he got sent off? If he deserved the red, if it would help us win — yes, no question. I’d do it tomorrow. I thought: ‘Actually, I tried to get him booked in the first half for diving.’ And the wink thing, I didn’t see anything in that at all. It was nothing.
“So I calmed down. I went over to him afterwards in the tunnel. I felt it was important to speak to him while it was still fresh and to do it face to face. He gave me a look as if to say sorry but by then I had my United head on. I said I’ve no issues with you. Enjoy your tournament and good luck. I’ll see you in a few weeks — and let’s go try and win the league.”
England were knocked out on penalties after a goalless draw, with Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher all failing from 12 yards as Ronaldo converted the decisive penalty for a 3-1 victory.